What do IONM and NT stand for?
IONM stands for intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring. NT stands for neurotechnologist.

What is IONM?
Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) is a medical/technical service provided during head, neck or spinal surgery by a specially trained, medical neurotechnologist (NT) from ORIMtec. IONM’s primary purpose is to reduce the risk of injury to the nerve structures directly involved with the type and location of the surgery. IONM allows the NT to detect impending damage to the nervous system and alert the operating surgeon so that he or she can prevent a permanent neurological problem. The service is provided in the operating room utilizing a proprietary turnkey computer system.

How does IONM work?
The NT will attach between 30 and 50 stimulating and recording electrodes to the nerve structures involved with the surgical procedure. During surgery, the NT continuously monitors (or checks) the nervous system by monitoring the electrical impulses as they pass through the spinal cord to the brain throughout the surgery. IONM reduces risk of damage to the nervous system by allowing the NT to immediately alert the surgeon if and when spinal cord or neural structure compromise appears imminent. Armed with information from the NT about changes in the conduction of electrical impulses, the surgeon can take corrective action before neurological injury becomes permanent.

Does IONM hurt?
No. IONM is administered after the patient is anesthetized.

Is there a recovery time from IONM?
There is no recovery time for patients when IONM is used. All electrodes are removed before the patient leaves the operating room suite.

What is the benefit of having IONM during my surgery?
IONM enables the NT to help the surgeon reduce many of the risks involved with surgery, correct any problems that arise, and avoid causing permanent neurological damage. IONM also lets the NT work closely with the anesthesiologist to monitor how the anesthetic agents interact with the nervous system. IONM helps the surgical procedure to go smoothly and benefits both patients and surgeons by increasing the chances of a successful surgical outcome.

Are there any added risks to me if my surgeon requests IONM for my upcoming surgery?
As with all surgeries, there are associated risks. These include infection, injury to the mouth or jaw (specific to transcranial electric stimulation), burns at stimulation site, and undetected neurological injury.

Are employees of ORIMtec technologists?
ORIMtec refers to the medical professionals who perform neuromonitoring as highly trained technologists called neurotechnologists (NTs).

How are ORIMtec NTs trained?
In addition to their training and education in a related medical field (e.g., nursing or electrodiagnostic technology), ORIMtec NTs receive specific training for IONM, including electrodiagnostics, operating room protocol, sterile technique, surgical procedures, and communications.

Are ORIMtec NTs certified?
Every ORIMtec NT is either board-certified or board-eligible in intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring.

Are ORIMtec NTs doctors?
ORIMtec does not employ physicians.

Does ORIMtec have a Medical Director?
ORIMtec retains a Medical Director whose primary responsibilities include quality assurance, ongoing training and literature review.

Can ORIMtec provide services at any hospital where I choose to have my surgery?
ORIMtec currently provides surgical monitoring services to approximately 31 hospitals throughout Northern California and Southern Oregon. If a surgeon requests our services at a hospital where we are not privileged, we can typically gain temporary privileges for a given surgery.

Is there an extra charge for having IONM?
ORIMtec contracts with hospitals for technical service fees, for which there may be a charge to the patient.

Will my insurance cover the IONM procedure?
Coverage depends upon your insurance plan. The physician providing the supervisory function will charge a fee, as may the hospital for providing the technical service.